January 1, 2011

Villa Classic is must-see action

The following article is reprinted, with permission, from i95Ballerz.com. Georgetown is currently involved, to a certain degree, with Omar Calhoun.

This Sunday, January 2nd is a big day for boys high school hoops in the City of Brotherly Love. Fans and observers will have an opportunity to witness top level pre-college basketball, in a historical backdrop, fueled by inter-city rivalry. In short, it's Villa Holiday Classic time.

"The kids are very excited to play in it" shared Neuman-Goretti's coach, John Mosco of the Villa Classic. "We had a big game last night where we beat Plymouth Whitemarsh...after the game that's all the kids talked about. They've been burning my phone up for more tickets!".

Such anticipation for Goretti's game is certainly amped by their scheduled opponent, Christ The King (NY). This game, as well as the three additional contests, pit Philly high schools vesus New York counterparts, one of the most hotly debated best-in-hoops subjects on the East Coast. The other battles are Dobbins Tech (PA) vs Bishop Loughlin (NY), Imhotep (PA) facing Boys and Girls (NY), and Penn Wood High School (PA) battling Brother Rice (NY).

Mosco, whose team defeated Christ The King in a West Virginia event last year, shared this matchup is "fun because we are in the Philadelphia Catholic League; up to two years ago we couldn't play for the state championship...We played Christ The King (previously), but for like nine years, we couldn't". With the scheduling restrictions being eased, Goretti can now matchup with Joe Arbitello's team.

Arbitello on lacing them up against Mosco's Illadelph crew in that city's Palestra, site of this year's Villa Classic: "I think Philly does a real good job of respecting the history of high school basketball. It's a real good idea...Great for high school basketball world".

Does Arbitello expect a hostile, PA-based crowd in this venerable building? Pausing slowly, with a smile evident through the phone, Christ The King's coach simply answered "I don't know. We'll see. Hopefully it will be".

Villa Classic information follows:

Teams and Times -

12:00pm- Dobbins Tech vs. 2009 Villa Holiday Classic Champion, Bishop Loughlin
1:45pm- NYC Public League Champion, Boys and Girls High School vs. Two-time Philadelphia Public League Champion, Imhotep Charter School
3:45pm- Rice High School vs. Penn Wood High School vs. Rice High School
5:45pm- NYC Catholic League Champion, Christ the King vs. Philadelphia Catholic League Champion, Neumann Goretti.

Location -

The Palestra, 235 S 33rd St, Philadelphia, PA (on the U. of Penn campus), affectionately dubbed The Cathedral of Basketball, owing its status as the oldest sports arena operating in America due to a 1927 opening.

Cost -

Tickets for the event are available for $15 (general admission) or $25 (VIP) at all Villa locations. Proceeds will be donated to support the Villa Teen Centers. For more
information visit www.ruvilla.com or call your local Villa location.

As to be expected, talent is in abundance in this year's Villa Classic, with Goretti boasting Lamin Fulton, a senior point guard headed to St. Peters, while sophomore forward John Davis provides grit down low. Christ The King's lead guard, senior Corey Edwards will attend George Mason next year, and Arbitello's squad has none other than Omar Calhoun, a junior scorer that recently completed an unofficial visit to North Carolina. The Tarheels are joined by "just about everybody" in giving Calhoun interest, according to his coach. Per reports, that includes scholarship offers tendered by Pittsburgh, Villanova, Louisville, St. John's, West Virginia, Miami, Virginia, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Vanderbilt.

All of the other contestants are also talented, including Rice's Jermaine Sanders and Aaron Brown, seniors that will lock horns in the BIG EAST for Cincinnati and West Virginia, respectively.

Attendees should expect a well run event, something both Mosco and Arbitello both cited. The former summed their feelings, saying "It's a class act".

Those in Philadelphia this weekend, take note.

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